Weekly survey: Whose faces would you pick for a Canadian music version of Mt. Rushmore?

Mt. Rushmore, the giant rock carving in South Dakota, is (in my opinion) and over-hyped tourist trap in South Dakota. But that’s just me. People come from all over the word to gave upon Gutzon Borglum’s sculpture of four iconic US presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

These presidents, according to Borglum, were the people who made America great.

Let’s riff on that theme a little. What if someone were to commission a similar sculpture featuring the four faces of people who made Canadian rock great? In other words, who are the most iconic and historically significant musical artists in the history of this country?

To keep it a little simpler, let’s confine this discussion about memorializing people in rock to rock artists (see what I did there?) I’m guessing people would nominate Neil Young. But who else? Bryan Adams? Randy Bachman?

Give it some thought and leave your nominations below.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

36 thoughts on “Weekly survey: Whose faces would you pick for a Canadian music version of Mt. Rushmore?

  • July 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm
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    Bachman Cummings Robertson and Young

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  • July 22, 2019 at 3:01 pm
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    This… is… tough. I’m just going to list off a bunch and let you do the choosing… and the chiseling.

    I agree with your first choice; Neil Young needs to have a place on Mount CanRock. Geddy Lee deserves a position of recognition on this display, both because of his unique contributions to rock and roll in general as well as the fact that he sang with Bob and Doug. Personally, Gord Downie is an absolute must for me (coincidentally, first time I saw the Hip in concert was 24 years ago today at Another Roadside Attraction in Markham!), and I would shun any Canadian rock recognition display without giving due respect to him.

    Here’s where it gets tough: do you go for the names who have helped establish Canadian rock and roll, or do you go with names who have forged ahead and carried it on through the years? What about representing the contributions of all the fantastic female rockers hailing from north of the border? Tough choices need to be made: Bryan Adams? Leonard Cohen? Sarah McLachlan? Gordon Lightfoot? Burton Cummings? Bruce Cockburn? Tom Cochrane?

    I’m going to say that my monument to Canadian rock and roll would need to have five faces on it, and I think the final two would need to be Joni Mitchell and Randy Bachman. Phew! That was hard! That being said, all this consideration decision-making helps us realize one thing: we’ve got a lot of musical talent in Canada!

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  • July 22, 2019 at 3:23 pm
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    Yeah, Neil Young is definitely on the short “rock” list. But my “long list” includes Gord Downey, Geddy Lee, Robbie Robertson and Bruce Cockburn (we can have 5 heads… we have enough mountains). If we go “folkie” then add Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell to the mix. Pop music, things get weird. Let’s not get weird.

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  • July 22, 2019 at 3:27 pm
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    Gord Downie
    Niel Young
    Geddy Lee
    Sarah Mclachlan

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  • July 22, 2019 at 3:55 pm
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    Tough one. Too many influential Canadian musicians. Here’s my first try, off the top of my head.
    Gord Downie
    Neil Young
    Leonard Cohen
    Joni Mitchell

    As an aside, I’ve been on vacation on the west coast for 2 weeks (just missed you in Victoria) and have been binging the podcast. Great stuff. I’ve probably listened to 50 episodes now.

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  • July 22, 2019 at 4:56 pm
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    Mitsou, Gino Vannelli, Kayvon, and the drummer from The Queen Haters

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    • July 23, 2019 at 3:27 am
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      Ahaha excited to see this made it up here. Went from a debate amongst friends to me emailing Alan Cross to get some extra help. Now, here we are. Excited to see what everyone else thinks should be on the Canadian Music Version of Mount Rushmore.

      Neil Young seems like a lock

      Gord Downie seems like an obvious and deserving choice

      The next two becomes a little bit more tricky

      I’d go with Geddy Lee and Bryan Adam’s

      Reply
  • July 22, 2019 at 7:20 pm
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    robbie Robertson
    gord downie
    neil young
    burton Cummings
    4 are not enough that have touched our lives we would need a 12 to 15 head monument

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  • July 22, 2019 at 10:54 pm
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    Dave Bidini
    Dave Clark
    Tim Vesely
    Martin Tielli

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    • July 23, 2019 at 2:14 pm
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      Geddy Lee, Stan Rogers, Stompin Tom, and Gord Downie.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 12:40 am
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    Glenn Gould
    L Cohen
    Neil Young
    Joni Mitchell

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  • July 23, 2019 at 2:27 am
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    Neil Young
    Randy Bachman
    Gordon Downie
    Neil Peart

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  • July 23, 2019 at 5:45 am
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    Oscar Peterson
    Glenn Gould
    Joni Mitchell
    Gordon Lightfoot

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  • July 23, 2019 at 7:17 am
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    Neil Young
    Celine Dion (can’t deny her success)
    Jim Cuddy
    Gord Downie

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  • July 23, 2019 at 7:30 am
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    Lee, lifeson, Peart. Gordon Lightfoot.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 11:13 am
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    Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers, and Stompin Tom would be on my short list, though I know they’re not as rock focused as many. Not sure who I’d pick as a fourth.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 11:26 am
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    Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart. No 4th face needed.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm
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    Hawksley Workman and Danko Jones

    Hawksley’s music is vast and diverse. You never know what you’re getting into when you first play a Hawksley album, except that it’ll be incredibly moving and beautiful.

    And Danko just fuckin’ rocks. You feel like you can take on the world when you’re listening to his music.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm
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    Gord Downie
    Geddy Lee
    Randy Bachman
    Stompin Tom.

    There is absolutely NO way we build this in Canada without Gord Downie. The citizens of this country know far too well his contributions to not just music, but Canada as a whole for him not to be the focal point of this iconic piece it it were ever to be built.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 2:33 pm
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    seriously? Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart. you only need three.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 3:20 pm
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    Geddy Lee
    Neil Young
    Neil Peart
    Joni Mitchell

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  • July 23, 2019 at 4:14 pm
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    There are more then 4 I would like to choose but I have narrowed it down.
    Gord Downie
    Neil Young
    Leonard Cohen
    Scott Anderson

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  • July 23, 2019 at 5:03 pm
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    It is called Mount RUSHmore, after all.

    Lee.
    Lifeson.
    Peart.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 6:55 pm
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    Lightfoot, David Foster, Randy Bachman, Celine Dion, Neil Young.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 9:37 pm
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    Young
    Downie
    Morrisette
    Adams
    That’s just my take.
    Anka could be a dark horse to sneak in.

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  • July 24, 2019 at 2:46 pm
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    This list was a tough one to narrow down. But hands down, Downie is a no brainer.

    Gord Downie
    Buffy-Saint Marie
    Neil Young
    Joni Mitchell
    Leonard Cohen
    Stompin’ Tom Connors
    Gordon Lightfoot

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  • July 24, 2019 at 10:24 pm
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    I didn’t know Canada had any other notable musicians besides Rush

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  • July 26, 2019 at 7:03 pm
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    Gordie!
    Neil Young
    Dallas Green
    Max Kerman

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  • July 27, 2019 at 12:17 am
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    I nominate the 3-headed monster of Lee – Lifeson – Peart. It seems an obvious deserving choice for their legendary musicianship, incredible longevity, unparalleled integrity, and notable ambassadorship on behalf of Canada.

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  • July 30, 2019 at 1:05 pm
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    A Canadian Mt. RUSHmore, it’s pretty obvious:

    Geddy Lee
    Neil Peart
    Alex Lifeson
    No 4th needed

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  • August 3, 2019 at 1:54 am
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    Gord
    Geddie
    Gordon
    Neil

    Or:
    Jim
    Greg
    Basil
    Glenn

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  • August 3, 2019 at 1:55 am
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    Gord
    Geddy
    Gordon
    Neil

    Or:
    Jim
    Greg
    Basil
    Glenn

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    • September 13, 2020 at 6:03 pm
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      Gord Downie
      Gordon Lightfoot
      Brielle Young
      All 3 Rush members

      Reply

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